READSBORO, Vt. -- Two North Adams, Mass., residents will face charges in a Vermont court following a high-speed chase with State Police there on Route 100 early Tuesday morning, a pursuit that ended in a crash and a totaled stolen vehicle.
According to Vermont State Police (VSP) Sgt. Jeffrey Trudeau, the driver, Shawn M. Tripodes, 18, was issued a citation to appear on May 14 in the Superior Court of Vermont, Windham Criminal Division, on charges of DUI-drugs, attempting to elude a police officer, grossly negligent operation and possession of stolen property.
The passenger, Matthew R. Rodriquez, 18, is being charged with possession of stolen property, according to Trudeau.
What ended with a crash into several trees near the intersection of Vermont routes 100 and 8, began with the report of a stolen vehicle in Whitingham.
According to a press release from Trudeau, an automobile theft was reported to State Police on Tuesday, at roughly 1:46 a.m., from a residence on Merrifield Road in Whitingham. The owner reportedly witnessed the theft of his 2003 Subaru Forester, which he saw traveling toward Route 100.
State Police responded, and a state trooper checking Merrifield Road observed a vehicle with Massachusetts plates quickly turn on its headlights and exit a driveway.
The trooper tried to pull over this vehicle -- a 2008 Toyota Camry -- as it traveled onto Route 100 at roughly 2 a.m. The Camry failed to stop and accelerated southbound on Route 100 toward Readsboro. The vehicle was observed crossing the yellow centerline and traveling at a high rate of speed.
As the Camry led VSP through Readsboro in the direction of Stamford and the Massachusetts border, Massachusetts State Police and North Adams Police were notified of the pursuit. Massachusetts State Police shared that they had received report of a stolen Toyota Camry from the town of Florida, Mass.
The Camry at times reached speeds in excess of 100 mph in the 7-mile chase. As the pursuit approached the intersection of Vermont routes 8 and Route 100, the Camry failed to negotiate a sharp curve and skidded off the roadway, colliding with several trees.
The operator, who VSP identified as Tripodes, was apprehended after a short foot pursuit. The passenger, who VSP identified as Rodriquez, was located in the passenger seat. Neither occupant was wearing a seatbelt, and the vehicle is considered a total loss, with extensive front-end and roof damage. Tripodes was processed for operating under the influence of drugs and submitted to a blood test.
Readsboro and Stamford fire departments and North Adams Ambulance Service responded to the scene, and Tripodes and Rodriquez were both transported to North Adams Regional Hospital with non-incapacitating injuries. Both were treated and later released. Heartwellville Towing responded and removed the vehicle from the scene.
The Camry was confirmed stolen from Florida, Mass, and in searching the vehicle, VSP located gift cards, credit cards, a Vermont identification card and empty wallets. VSP later tracked one identification back to a residence on Route 100 in the town of Stamford. The victim was unaware that these items and cash had been stolen during the night from her unlocked vehicle. Several other stolen credit cards located are tied to a theft investigation in the town of Adams, Mass.
VSP also discovered that the Whitingham residence the Toyota Camry had originally fled had been entered. The homeowners, who were home during the night, discovered at 6 a.m. that their attached garage had been entered and their vehicle ransacked during the night. Later Tuesday, at 11:35 a.m., VSP located the stolen 2003 Subaru Forester, abandoned on Pike Road in Whitingham.
This case is still under investigation. Vermont State Police are urging anyone with information to contact Sgt. Trudeau at the Brattleboro Barracks at 802-254-2382.